With The Essential Reader’s Companion now on store shelves and a number of exciting novels and other books in the pipeline, we sat down with Del Rey Senior Production Manager and Editor Erich Schoeneweiss to get his take on the new Essential Guides, the greatest scenes in Expanded Universe novels, and much more.
EUCantina (EUC): Out of all the newly announced books, I’m most excited for the new Essential Characters book. Every guide is packed with awesome information and artwork. Why did you choose artist Doug Wheatley to illustrate?
Erich Schoeneweiss (ES): Because his work rocks my world. I LOVE the Dark Times comic book series. So we started trading emails about a year or so ago and it turns out he’s a big fan of the Del Rey books. We tried to work together on Essential Guide to Warfare and scheduling was just too tight. So when I was looking for an artist for Characters, and I wanted just one artist for this book, I figured he’d be too busy–but I had nothing to lose in asking. He was the first and only artist I spoke with about the Characters book and he’s been amazing to work with. Doug and I are hoping to continue a long working relationship together (although as a fan, I want him to get back onto Dark Times too!).
EUC: Is Del Rey trying to win back jaded fans by publishing X-Wing: Mercy Kill, Crucible, and Sword of the Jedi?
ES: We, Del Rey, are simply trying to publish the best Star Wars novels we can. If, in doing so, some people who may have stopped reading the books come back, that’s wonderful. We’re excited about the books we’ve published this year as well as those we have coming up. The editors and authors are putting a lot of hard work into all of the books and I think it’s really showing on the pages. We hope the readers agree.
EUC (reader question): What’s (in your opinion) the best written scene in a book in the EU?
ES: This really does change from book to book. I won’t give specific details as I don’t want to spoil it, but there’s a scene in Apocalypse with Jaina, Luke, and Corran that I loved (I think those who read the book will know the scene). I loved the end of Matt Stover’s novelization of Revenge of the Sith. I had tears in my eyes reading that. Darth Plagueis had a lot of great scenes. I finished reading Tim Zahn’s new eBook short story, “Winner Lose All,” last night and there’s a fun scene at a sabacc table I really enjoyed. It’s just too hard to pick one scene from so many amazing books.
EUC: Vergere is one of my favorite characters. I loved her ambiguity, so I was disappointed when she was retconned as a Sith in Betrayal to explain Jacen’s fall. The Essential Reader’s Companion reveals the existence of The Vergere Compendium, an outline written by Troy Denning that details Vergere’s scheme to turn Jacen Solo. Can you tell us more about it?
ES: Unfortunately I can’t. It was a document created for the sole use of the creative team and it’s not my place to discuss or divulge the contents of it.
EUC: That rumor that Matthew Stover is finishing up the Commando series is totally true, right?
ES: As a general rule we don’t comment on rumors. The great thing about our Star Wars Books Facebook page and our @DelReyStarWars Twitter is that it allows us to communicate what we’re working on when we’re ready to. So that’s where fans of the books should be looking for news. I believe someone asked the Del Rey panel at Celebration VI if we would be continuing the Commando books and Shelly’s answer was “maybe, with positive thoughts.” I’ll leave it at that regarding another Commando book.
EUC: Have any fans’ tweets or comments affected you in anyway?
ES: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have any fandom. We love reading the comments and Tweets and EU fans are some of the best, if not the best, there is. The Force is definitely strong with them
EUC (reader question): What’s the hardest editorial decision you’ve had to make while working on Star Wars?
ES: There honestly hasn’t been that one specific decision or moment that would make for a great answer. Each book presents its own individual challenges. For example, Jason Fry’s [Essential Guide to Warfare] manuscript ran much, much longer than it was supposed too so I had to work with Jason to make some difficult cuts, but nothing that took away from the overall subject matter of the book.
EUC: The Essential Reader’s Companion confirms fans’ suspicions that the tattooed warrior in Apocalypse is, in fact, Darth Krayt. His early appearance moves the timeline forward, causing many fans to wonder if the Legacy comics are now Infinities. We’ve already seen in the One Sith in Riptide. To make matters more confusing, Jennifer Heddle tweeted that the Imperial Knights are canon. Why did Del Rey include Darth Krayt in Apocalypse? Has the chronology changed at all? Are parts of Legacy no longer canon?
ES: First of all, Del Rey definitely considers all of Dark Horse Comics Legacy series to be canon. There shouldn’t be speculation that we don’t. Secondly, I don’t see any mention of Krayt in Apocalypse. I see a tattooed warrior that could be assumed to be Krayt in the book. Yes, Pablo says in the ERC that the tattooed warrior is Krayt; but, a physical manifestation of the tattooed warrior does not appear in the novel. The scene in question takes place Beyond Shadows and is the mental projections of the tattooed warrior and Luke the reader sees. So if it is Krayt how do we know he hadn’t learned a technique to go Beyond Shadows as well? I don’t believe this small detail changes continuity at all and we (Del Rey) certainly consider the events of the Legacy comics as canon and are respectful of that when moving the flagship series forward.
EUC: What projects are you working on now?
ES: Star Wars: The Essential Characters with Dan Wallace and Doug Wheatley and editing the manuscript for Jon Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. We have a few other books in various development stages but not ready to talk about them yet.
Thanks to Erich Schoeneweiss for taking the time to do this interview. You can read past EUCantina interviews here.